Tuesday September 20, 2022                           

New Publication: Taking Classrooms Outdoors Will Give NB Students an Experiential Edge

  • On September 20, 2022, the New Brunswick Environmental Network published a Discussion Paper regarding the benefits of outdoor learning using feedback and insight from more than 50 educators around the province. 
  • The document recommends a period of five years in which schools incrementally work toward a standard of at least 10 hours per week spent learning outdoors, which will lead to better learning outcomes, improved physical and mental health, and a stronger connection to the environment. 
  • The findings demonstrate that the New Brunswick public education system already has the tools and resources needed to make outdoor learning a permanent and mandated part of the public school curriculum over a five-year adjustment period, provided schools receive adequate government support during the transition.

MONCTON, New Brunswick – On Tuesday, September 20th, the New Brunswick Environmental Network published a document titled “Giving our Children an Experiential Edge: A Discussion Paper on Outdoor Learning in New Brunswick” With a combination of academic literature review, semi-structured interviews with education experts, and extensive teacher feedback throughout the drafting process, the Paper presents a multi-sectoral approach to how to address the remaining gaps, overcome common barriers, and access useful resources when incorporating outdoor learning into the curriculum.

The document demonstrates how teaching and learning outdoors align with each of the six Global Competencies that guide education goals in NB and worldwide. If implemented, these principles would help to make New Brunswick a world-class example of quality education.

The Discussion Paper also shows how outdoor learning re-enforces or helps to achieve stated goals for reform from the NB Department of Education, such as those included in the 2019 Green Paper by Education Minister Dominic Cardy, the province’s Ten-year Education Plans (2016), the New Brunswick Global Competencies framework (2019), and the New Brunswick Back-To-School plan by Minister Cardy (2021). 

After two years of interrupted and virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and the Education Minister have flagged a major concern for competency in literacy and numeracy at all grade levels. Hands-on and experiential outdoor learning provides a solution for  bridging those gaps in knowledge by providing engaging experiences that put learning outcomes into practice. 

Illnesses including COVID-19 are also widely recognized to be less easily transmissible in open-air settings, which has encouraged the adoption of outdoor learning practices worldwide in recent years in reaction to the pandemic. 

The Discussion Paper can be seen at this link: 

About the New Brunswick Environmental Network

The New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN), established in 1991, is a communication network that links together over 110 non-profit environmental organizations. The role of the NBEN is to improve communication and cooperation among environmental groups and between these groups, the government and other sectors. The NBEN is not an advocacy group and does not take positions on any issue. Rather, the NBEN provides educational opportunities for its member and associate groups and encourages the growth of the environmental movement in New Brunswick. The NBEN acts as secretariat for the Sustainability Education Alliance, a network  connecting organizations, agencies and individuals throughout New Brunswick who want together in moving towards a culture of sustainability education. 

For comment or to arrange an interview, please contact: 

Tzomi Jazwicki, Sustainability Education Alliance Manager
Annika Chiasson, Executive Director

232 Botsford Street, 2nd Floor
Moncton, NB, E1C 4X7


 © 2018 NBEN / RENB